At Holistic Wellness, we often get questions about spices and herbs that can be used to help support the body’s healing processes. One amazing spice we love to recommend to people is cinnamon. Cinnamon is a great addition to your daily routine, and here we outline why!
Health benefits of cinnamon:
Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory spice that has been used throughout history for its healing properties. Cinnamon can help improve digestion, fight the common cold, and lower blood sugar. Cinnamaldehyde, a main component in cinnamon, has antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is rich in antioxidants, which provide much of the anti-inflammatory properties.
Cinnamon may have a positive impact on symptoms of Type II Diabetes by improving serum glucose, lowering fasting blood glucose, and reducing triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol. It also raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. Regular intake of cinnamon may also help mitigate the effects of high-fat meals by slowing the increase in blood sugar post-meal.
Evidence suggests that cinnamon may have anti-carcinogenic effects as well, although the research thus far is limited to animal studies. These experiments demonstrate that cinnamon extract slows the growth of cancer cells and induces cancerous cell death.
Research shows that cinnamon extract may help fight the HIV virus by preventing the virus from entering cells. Therefore, cinnamon extract could potentially contribute to the management of HIV.
Lastly, cinnamon may have health benefits in relation to women’s health and wellness, which is our primary focus at Holistic Wellness. A recent pilot study found that cinnamon reduced insulin resistance in women with PCOS. Cinnamon can also help mitigate heavy menstrual bleeding associated with common conditions of female health, such as endometriosis, menorrhagia, and uterine fibroids.
Who can benefit?:
Anyone can benefit from incorporating cinnamon into their regular diet. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon helps reduce overall inflammation in the body, which can help support the majority of people. Especially in the Western world, systemic inflammation is a prominent problem that has lead to the rise in chronic disease. Cinnamon consumption also can be preventative, in addition to helping reduce symptoms that are already present.
People diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, or PCOS may especially benefit from consuming cinnamon regularly because of the positive effects on blood sugar and lipid profiles. Individuals with digestive issues may also see positive results from consuming cinnamon regularly.
There does not appear to be any significant difference in the activity of cinnamon based on gender, age, or race.
Dosage & Administration:
Cinnamon can be ingested through cooking with the spice, using the extract, or taking capsules. The recommended dosage is 1-6 grams per day, taken with meals. This can be done by using 1-1.25 tsp cinnamon powder, one drop of cinnamon bark essential oil, or up to 6 grams worth of capsules. Variance is recommended to keep from getting bored, and to prevent overconsumption. It is also suggested that people only take this dose up to 5 days per week. It is always a good idea to consult with a qualified practitioner before starting a new supplement regimen.
- Allen RW et al. Cinnamon used in type 2 diabetes: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. 2013. Ann Fam Med;11(5):452-459.
- Beejmohun V et al. acute effect of Ceylon cinnamon extract on postprandial glycemic: alpha-amylase inhibition, starch tolerance test in rats, an randomized crossover clinical trial in healthy volunteers. 2014. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine;14:351.
- Filho JR et al. Effects of plant extracts on HIV-1 protease. 2010. Current HIV Research;8(7):531-544.
- Fink RC, Roschek B, & Alberte RS. HIV type-1 entry inhibitors with a new mode of action. 2009. Antivir Chem Chemother;19(6):243-255.
- Hamidpour R, Hamidpour M, Hamidpour S, & Shahlari M. Cinnamon from the selection of traditional applications to its novel effects on the inhibition of angiogenesis in cancer cells and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, and a series of functions such as antioxidant, anticholesterol, antidiabetes, antibacterial, antifungal, nematicidal, acaracidal, and repellent activities. 2015. J Tradit Compelement Med; 5(2):66-70.
- Ka H et al. Cinnamaldehyde induces apoptosis by ROS-mediated mitochondrial permeability transition in human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells.
- Khan A et al. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with Type 2 Diabetes. 2003. Diabetes Care;26(12):3215-3218.
- Lu J et al. Novel angiogenesis inhibitory activity in cinnamon extract blocks VEGFR2 kinase and downstream signaling. 2010. Carcinogenesis;31(3):481-488.
- Rao PV & Gan SH. Cinnamon: a multifaceted medicinal plant. 2014. Evidence Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine:642942.
- Sartorius T et al. Cinnamon extract improves insulin sensitivity in the brain and lowers liver fat in mouse models of obesity. 2014. PLoS One;9(3):e92358.
- Skulas-Ray AC et al. A high antioxidant spice blend attenuates postprandial insulin and triglyceride responses and increases some plasma measures of antioxidant activity in healthy overweight men. 2011. Journal of Nutrition;141(8):1451-1457.
- Wang JG et al. The effect of cinnamon extract on insulin resistance parameters in polycystic ovary syndrome: a pilot study. 2007. Fertility & Sterility;88(1):240-243.